Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona
Washington.- The Hong Kong society has deep-rooted democratic principles that are proven by the struggle they have waged in recent days and their willingness to continue to fight to maintain the freedom they have enjoyed in recent years, which has allowed them to enjoy welfare and development outside the control imposed by the Chinese Communist Party.
The United States’ relationship with Hong Kong has been preferential due to a law passed in 1992 that allowed the US government to treat Hong Kong as a different entity from mainland China regarding trade and immigration issues after it was delivered to China in 1997, which administers the territory under the principle of “one country, two systems”.
The commitment for the transfer was to maintain the legal system that Hong Kong had during the British period, so that Chinese socialism would not be imposed. In counterpart, Beijing remained in charge of foreign policy and defence of the region. Just twenty years after the transfer, and with another thirty years to go before the region will be integrated into China, Beijing accelerates its level of interference in Hong Kong and reveals its intentions.
At the height of protests in Hong Kong, the Executive Committee for China of the United States Congress on June 13th released a bill on democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.
The announcement was made with the purpose of reaffirming the commitment of the United States to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, at a moment when these freedoms and the autonomy of Hong Kong are being eroded by the interference of the Chinese government and the Communist Party, according to the press release.
The purpose of this law is to make clear that the US Congress is on the side of the Hong Kong people and their effort to preserve human rights. This law has the bicameral and bipartisan support of the congress. 4Asia had the opportunity to consult the opinion of one of the strongest proponents of this bill, the Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who told us: “As Beijing continues its attack against the autonomy of Hong Kong, the United States must support democracy and freedom of expression. The Hong Kong government should withdraw the proposed amendments to the extradition law and explore alternatives that protect the rule of law from the influence of the Chinese Communist Party. “
Domestic and international pressure have caused the Hong Kong government to postpone the debate on the law and lower the aggressive tone that was used at the beginning of the protests. As stated by Carrie Lam, the head of the government, “the priority is to restore peace and order”. She said that while claiming that the Hong Kong courts will have the last word on extraditions to China, as an attempt to soften the oppressive and arbitrary impression of the nature of the extradition law.
It is a key moment for the region, not only for Hong Kong. Taiwan and other democracies in the Pacific need the freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong. It is in the interest and welfare of the region that China understands that the West is on the side of democracy and will react when these freedoms are in danger.
Last week, The Economist dedicated an article to a common practice in China, which is seen as strange by the rest of the world. The Chinese music services had banned a song from “Les Misérables” that was used as a hymn in the Hong Kong protests of 2014. Do you hear people sing? It is the tune that during the protests of the last days began to be heard again, just before the gases repressed the sound of the people.
The protesters recited the song to keep the enthusiasm alive. And the response of the Chinese government, in line with its common modus operandi, seeks to silence the cry of the people to maintain an independent and democratic legal system, in this case with the Extradition Law.